Ryan Mathews ran for 108 yards and two touchdowns, a tenacious defence held down the league’s highest-scoring offence and the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Atlanta Falcons 24-15 on Sunday.
Carson Wentz threw for 231 yards and led the Eagles (5-4) to a comeback victory for the first time this season. Caleb Sturgis made three field goals, including a clutch kick from 48 yards to seal the win late.
“The run game was huge,” Wentz said. “It was good to get Ryan the ball, feed him the rock and he was running angry. That makes my job easier.”
Matt Ryan threw a 76-yard touchdown pass to Taylor Gabriel in the fourth quarter to give Atlanta (6-4) a 15-13 lead, but Philadelphia answered.
Mathews ran in from the five and also converted the two-point conversion for a 21-15 lead with 7:14 left in the game.
On Atlanta’s ensuing possession, Julio Jones dropped a pass on third-and-12 and the Falcons punted away. Jones couldn’t make a difficult catch on fourth-and-five on Atlanta’s next drive.
Jones, sporting fashionable cleats to support the NFL’s Salute To Service, had 10 catches for 135 yards.
The Falcons came in averaging 33.8 points. But they settled for field goals of 38, 43 and 46 yards by Matt Bryant before Ryan connected with Gabriel.
“They outdid us in all phases,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. “We had our opportunities and we didn’t nail them. We had the lead and couldn’t close it.”
Mathews had just nine carries combined in the past two games while 33-year-old Darren Sproles was featured. But coach Doug Pederson made a point to establish the run right away. Mathews carried seven times for 34 yards on the first drive, taking it in from the four for a 7-0 lead.
Rookie Wendell Smallwood had 70 yards rushing and Philadelphia finished with a season-high 208 on the ground.
“That’s an explosive offence and I felt we had to possess the ball and running game had to be a factor,” Pederson said.
Ryan was 18 of 33 for 267 yards, one TD and one interception.
Ryan and Atlanta’s high-powered offence spent a lot of time watching from the sideline. The Eagles dominated time of possession nearly 2 to 1 by controlling the ball for 38:10.
The Eagles won the battle on both sides, pushing the Falcons’ defence around and paving the way for the run game. Atlanta’s offensive line allowed Ryan to get pressured and forced him to make quick throws several times. He was sacked twice.
The Eagles are 4-0 at home, including convincing wins over the Steelers and Vikings. They’ve outscored their opponents 108-38.Report Typo/Error